Rohingya and refugee camps
Sir, – Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh is home to almost 1.1 million Rohingya refugees. For years, the Rohingya, have fled across the border to escape the ongoing genocide perpetrated by the Myanmar military to the relatively safe haven of Bangladesh. Covid-19 has reached the refuge camps. The humanitarian disaster that we have all feared is edging close to reality.
For over six months the Rohingya have had little or no access to the internet or mobile phone coverage. The internet ban imposed on the camps in the area is severely hampering the attempts by aid organisations to do their work and to limit the spread of the disease. The sharing of information and guidance on health is essential if yet another humanitarian disaster is to be avoided. The blackout has made it harder for people to receive any reliable information and is fuelling a sense of panic in the region. The ban has also caused unwarranted stress, fear and anxiety among the Rohingya community in Carlow, many of whom come from the Kutupalong camp and cannot contact their families because of the ban. The internet shutdown is jeopardising lives as the virus wreaks havoc among one of the poorest, dispossessed, destitute and marginalised groups in the world.
The extent of the impending humanitarian disaster can be managed better if the ban is lifted, which can and will save lives. – Yours, etc,
Rohingya Action Ireland,
Kells, Co Kilkenny.